Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day #1: Worth a Thousand Words

Of course, the first day of my 24/7/365 blog pledge, I break the #1 rule: Don't post about your cat!

Yesterday, my wife Alexis and I adopted a kitten. She is sitting on a blanket next to me right now, content with being petted every so often as I type away. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship...

But on to filmmaking -- our casting has gone live! Our casting director Cheryl has informed us that within minutes of posting our notice last night, we received literally hundreds of submissions! Far more than she expected around 9 PM on a Monday! I'm very glad to see that the material is generating so much interest among young actors today :)

Tomorrow is our first Production Meeting with crew members. Jay, our profoundly talented cinematographer, will be meeting with us to lock down the schedule as well as begin some early discussions on pre-visualization. So I have been doing some creative research and preparing a Production Book.

Film Prep Lesson #1

Every good film in pre-production needs a Production Book, which is a binder that organizes every creative idea that goes into the film using movie stills, photographs, sketches, and even hyperlinks to clips of movies. For example, in the cinematographer's section, you break down every scene into every conceivable element: color, lighting, composition, camera movement, actor movement, exposure, lens plot, shutter speed, etc. And you provide a picture for every single idea. In costume design section, sketches of all the character's costumes. In production design, pictures of similar locations from movies and images of potential props and later on sketches of the ideal locations. And so on. Which leads me to...

Film Prep Lesson #2

Always have website. Very soon (tomorrow maybe!) the website will go live and you can see some Production Book pictures and download the script!

Thursday, I'll be meeting a potential costume designer as well as Joe, a higher-up at USC who oversees every student film's production. He'll be giving us lots of great guidelines on safety, scheduling, and finding film-friendly locations.

But today has mostly been made up of "homework." Lots of reading about acting and cinematography to get my head in the right thought process, just jotting down ideas that come to mind about characters and shots, but not committing to anything this early in the process. I've also agreed to help out our producers who are bit strapped looking for locations, and I've been calling lots of friends and asking for referrals for locations.

But so much hangs on tomorrow's meeting: we either lose two weeks from our prep schedule and start shooting July 31st, or we lose a great location for Scott's House. I'll let you know tomorrow.

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